• Ally Amaya

Spring Lake Sailing off to a Strong Start

The Spring Lake High School Sailing has started off this school year with practices to outrace their opponents at the Spring Lake Yacht Club. The Spring Lake High School Sailing team is dominating the water with the guidance of Coach Oliva Windemuller who is here leading her team to success. They practice every Tuesday and Thursday starting from 3 P.M all the way to 6 P.M. The team works very hard out on the water. Coach Windemuller makes sure her team can Heel, Tack correctly, making sure their Mainsail and Lines are running in place.

One team member, Brooklyn Verplank, has been sailing all her life: “I have been sailing since I was five but started racing when I was 7. I got into sailing through my grandpa and dad, it is a generational sport for my family.” Many of the sailors have been sailing for a long time. It’s an important part of their life and family life.

Another team member, Nyle Eggert, wanted to share how he ended up sailing: “ I have been sailing since I was 5 or 6. My dad and grandpa have always been sailing because it has been in my family and I’m just naturally good at it.”

Coach Windemuller shared how sailing became part of her life, “ I started coaching high school 2 years ago. Before that, I was coaching the summer race team as well for about 4 years. I was a part of the summer program growing up and when I started to age out of the program I got into teaching and coaching the new kids. A lot of times the kids that go through the program end up teaching the new sailors. It is a great way to stay involved and give back to the program. My parents were a huge part of getting the High School team off the ground, so it is really nice to give back to the team by being the coach.”

The Spring Lake Sailing Team had a race last weekend. They were down in Holland at Lake Macatawa sailing in the Wooden Shoe regatta. There were 10 total schools that had participated in the sailing race. Spring Lake and Grand Haven competed together on mixed teams. Kids from both schools were on boats together. They sailed strong and finished the regatta in 6th and 8th place. The other schools that were there included; East Grand Rapids, West Ottawa, Black River, Grosse Ile, Lansing Catholic, and Bath High School.

Coach Windemuller has given us a few tips about sailing: “I think sailing is a very hard sport. There are so many different factors that you have to consider when it comes to racing sailboats. Sailing is also a self-governed sport, which means there are no referees or judges out on the water watching everything you are doing. So when you foul someone else it is on you to know and understand the rules, then exonerate yourself for the mistake that you made.”

A few more tips from Coach Winemuller, “It is also a very physical sport, when you are racing you really are never sitting still. You constantly have to be on your toes and ready to make a move if need be. When it is windy you have to hike, which is when you lean out of the boat with your shoulders to keep the boat flat. That involves a lot of core and leg strength. Sailing is also very strategic. So not only are you doing everything you can to make the boat go fast and stay upright, but you also have to be strategic on where you want to go on the water. Constantly looking for where the most wind is, where your competitors are or where they are going.”

Sailing is a huge part of people’s lives and the Spring Lake High School Sailing team helps many students who are looking for a place where you don’t have to worry about things and just have this feeling that you can’t shake. The Spring Lake High School Sailing Team is ready to keep sailing to victory.


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